Thursday, June 11, 2009

Calcutta Calling.....

Oh Calcutta!
My heart still skips a beat when i hear that...the city of joy..the former capital of India..the cultural hub of the country..home of Rabindranath Tagore..Bankimchandra and many more prolific writers..yes it is my own Calcutta, my home and not Kolkata as it is now known as...

One of the first things that comes to my mind when i think of Calcutta is the Howrah Bridge..the pride of Calcutta...the gateway to Calcutta.As a child going out of station seemed appealing because i got an opportunity to drive through the massive bridge..i looked in awe every time as my father showed me the Ganges and tried to teach me which direction of the river leads to aunt's place..

People often say Calcutta appeals to those people who have lived there but the truth is that the city has touched every one who has ever been there in it's special ways.One thing that cannot be undermined is the spirit and hospitality of it's inhabitants.
From the early morning activities at the Babu the busy streets of Park the narrow by lanes of North the crowded Kalighat temple the street hawkers of Gariahat.. to the maddening crowds at Eden gardens...the spirit of Calcutta is alive and well in it's people.

Calcutta is a very cosmopolitan and modern city...orthodox in it's own way and modern on the other trying hard to embrace the new age.

The best thing about Calcutta is it's cuisine..a mixture of many cultures..
In Calcutta you can find the most amazing "Biriyani" and at the same time the most authentic Indianised Chinese food.As a child i remember going to Park Street for dinner...and how can i even forget China Town..the hakka noodles and gravy chilli chicken have rocked the hearts of Calcuttans for years now and obviously i am no exception.

The city celebrates Durga Puja and Christmas with equal enthusiasm..such is the love of of other cultures. The decked up Park Street on Christmas Eve and New Year is a sight worth seeing. I have been to many places but have never seen a Hindu dominated city celebrating Christmas with such enthusiasm. The city takes another beautiful look during the Durga Puja festival. All year round every Bengali waits eagerly for the pujas to come so that they can surrender themselves to a spiritual and cultural extravaganza. The clear blue skies with small white clouds, pleasant winds and fields adorned with "Kash Phool" signal the advent of "Sarat Kaal" and with it comes Durga Puja. The environment casts a magic spell and every one gets carried away by the grandeur of the festival....

Calcutta is a modern city built on the ruins of the past...though it's changing day by day yet it has managed to cling to it's roots.Calcutta today is as parochial as it is modern.It lives in the past as much as it lets it's past decay. India's first global city,it is littered with the remains of many worlds: the rickshaws brought in by the Chinese,the Mughlai food brought in by the Mughals, the hip hop and jazz culture brought in by the Americans and the everlasting impressions left behind by the British.

Calcutta to me is my reminds me of my childhood reminds me of the days i walked around the city holding my mother's hand....Calcutta to me is more than Victoria Memorial or Kalighat or Mohanbagan or Flury's or even Saurav Ganguly. Though all these things together make what Calcutta is will always be special to me in more than one me it is what i call......
Home..Sweet Home!!!


Flower Car Lady said...

I have never been to calcutta and your post made an interesting read. Some day I would love to visit the city and sample all the bengali food :)

chandreyee said...

I am glad you liked it..believe me if you ever visit Calcutta you will realize i did not exaggerate..such is the magic of that place..and do sample some authentic Bengali's yum.....:)